The European Commission has adopted a decision outlining the criteria necessary to achieve good environmental status for Europe’s seas. The decision on the criteria for Good Environmental Status of marine waters focuses on different aspects of marine ecosystems including biological diversity, fish population, eutrophication, contaminants, litter and noise.
Member States now have to develop marine strategies which serve as action plans for applying an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities.
The European Commission considers suspending structural funds for states which are regularly in breach of the EU’s stability and growth pact. An additional criterion being considered is a public debt ratio above 60% of GDP. The Commission also plans to deepen and broaden budgetary surveillance in the future.
I can follow the logic of the Commission in desiring to impose a budget discipline in the EU, but I am particularly worried about Bulgaria. As we already know, there probably will be an excessive deficit procedure against Bulgaria for 2009 and possibly for 2010. True, the gross public debt is relatively small. But even now we face substantial problems in using the structural funds. Any further restriction or suspension of regional aid by the Commission can be devastating for a country that simply is not competitive enough on the EU markets.
There were four important hearings of commissioner designates in the European Parliament on Monday.
The summaries from the hearings of the candidates:
I was able to follow personally the hearing of Mrs. Catherine Ashton. She was very well prepared, and failed to answer only a few questions (one question was about the transatlantic market initiative, which is, well, not mainstream to say the least and bears a lot of criticism). Euractiv and EUobserver provide their accounts of her hearing.
Today I will follow with great attention the presentation of the Bulgarian commissioner designate – Mrs. Rumiana Jeleva. You can also follow her hearing online here.
Posted in Budget and Finance, Enterprise, EU Reform, Institutional Affairs, Internal Market, Regional Policy
Tagged Andris Piebalgs, Catherine Ashton, commissioner designates, European Commission, European Parliament, hearings, Janusz Lewandowski, Olli Rehn